Happy International Woman’s Day 2017!

As International Women’s comes around this year again, it’s important to remember who we are as woman. Friends, partners, sisters, wives, mothers, but most importantly, an inseparable part of society. We form approximately half of the world’s population and in an ideal world, should have half of the influence on the global agenda too.

Unfortunately, many woman around the world barely have the means to live a decent life, IMG_20170308_144205.jpglet alone be able to have the ability to discuss issues such as higher representation in institutions like parliament and equal pay. Woman’s literacy rates are shockingly low in parts of Asia and Africa, especially in Niger, South Sudan, Guinea, Afghanistan, Mali, Central African Republic and Burkina Fas0, where it remains under 30%. Education is often denied if a family cannot afford the costs or if she is to be married off due to poverty. This cycle must be intervened in as higher literacy and education for woman can drastically solve other issues too, such as escaping poverty with the chances of better job prospects which in turn can lead to a thriving national economy as well as a reduction in poverty which would reduce the chances of human trafficking, early marriages, and a reduction in the amount of children a woman has in her lifetime, especially if she is educated on and given access to contraceptive methods. Her increased participation in  educational activities could on a whole lead to a larger voice of woman in representative institutions as her part in society would be just as fundamental to the fabric of society as that of a man.

Beyond this, there are a whole array of issues which affect woman worldwide from female genital mutilation, gender based violence, forced marriages/honour killings and human trafficking to sexual harassment, the pay gap, body shaming and legal mandates on dress codes. We must also remember the different social, economic and political factors which affect our advancement as different woman which is why I advocate intersectional feminism. There is a long way to go, but with mutual empowerment and respect between the sexes and woman of all kinds, we can.

Happy International Woman’s Day!

Bushra x

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

My Response to the BURKINI BAN!

Many innocent civilians in Europe and beyond have lost their lives tragically to the rising trend of extremism in the name of my faith. Time and time again, some of these terrorists have been let off the radar and given free reign to carry out their twisted agenda. And burkini-blur.jpgFrance’s response? Ban the burkini. Well, anything that doesn’t respect ‘good customs and secularism’, which is clearly open to interpretation, as seen recently with woman who are simply wearing a headscarf with leggings and a top FINED, something I’d wear myself – not because I’m being forced or ‘oppressed’, but because I simply don’t feel comfortable to show my body on the beach – why is that such a problem? Is it really necessary for the state to dictate one’s choice of clothing at a beach, or an armed male police officer to ask a woman to reduce her clothing at a beach? I find it hard to believe that they are in any way ‘threatening’, but rather an easy way to cause misconception, as if there isn’t enough already.

Argument one: They are extreme, and can be used to conceal weapons by terrorists.

Well first of all, good luck finding a terrorist wearing what is pretty much a wet suit, when they are in fact ALSO shamed by extremist organisations as inappropriate, let alone even being okay with woman on a beach. Also, it’s ironic that they were designed to allow Muslim woman, or in fact any woman who chooses not to wear a bikini on the beach more freedom to swim/play/chill on the beach without feeling uncomfortable. If terrorists want to harm others, then a burkini ban will not stop them and not only will rather empower their already twisted motives but needlessly deter and isolate perfectly moderate woman the chance to use the beaches. Politics has already poisoned faith, why is it being bought to beaches as well?

Argument two: “It is the expression of a political project, a counter-society, based notably on the enslavement of women.”, according to Manuel Valls, the French PM.

So exposing your body, according to the PM is the ONLY way to not be enslaved?  If the problem is with the burkini, which is merely a choice of swimwear, just like the bikini, then why are woman in full clothing also being fined? What is clearly misunderstood is the idea that the burkini is oppressive when it is actually revolutionary, as for the first time, practicing Muslim woman can have the same sense of freedom and enjoyment on the beach. If anything, it is the very opposite of enslavement. It is certainly far more daring than the restrictions on woman’s swimwear enforced by police not too long ago in Europe. It is also banned and frowned upon in many Muslim societies, such as in Iran. Why? Because it is seen as too REVEALING!

Argument three: ‘It is our laws which should be respected as I couldn’t wear this in (insert conservative Muslim society here)’

This argument always makes me cringe the most. First of all, yes, in many conservative societies you won’t really attract foreigners in the first place, but in top tourist destinations you are generally free to wear a bikini on the beach. But secondly, often those countries have very conservative cultural norms and human rights issues, and don’t often boast: Freedom, equality and fraternity. And most importantly, the woman wearing these on French soil are fully French citizens that may happen to be Muslim so why associate them with countries they have no association with?  A country claiming to be based on secular principles and freedom should surely disassociate from societies of such? If not, then what difference is there in obligatory clothing in Iran (the wearing of the headscarf) and the removal of clothing in France?

Once again, we have huge issues in the world, particularly with the rise of global terrorism and mass violation of human rights…. and law enforcement are being wasted to tell a woman she cannot cover her body on the beach.

Don’t forget to like, follow and share!

Bushra x

Twitter: @BushraSpeaks

Email: bushrajalilofficial@hotmail.co.uk

 

International Womans’ Day!

international womans day

So I finally have my laptop back to blog with, and why not start with a late Happy International Woman’s Day message? Yesterday was a day of celebrating what woman have accomplished throughout history, and the difference we can truly make united! Many famous figures and feminists took to social media to offer their wishes to this day and also delivered messages celebrating the great change in woman’s freedoms and rights, as well as pushing for that all important gender equality! I’ve noticed that the word ‘feminist’ and the idea of ‘feminism’ has been attacked and mocked by some and almost FEMINISMbecome a word to be ‘frightened’ of, not only by typical misogynists, but ordinary people! I will admit that there are some feminists who are hypocrites and who impose the idea of gender equality and freedom of expression upon everyone, yet do not follow these beliefs themselves, as well as twisting the idea of feminism to be a form of male dominance.That is NOT feminism.

Not every ‘feminist’, however is there to ‘attack’ anyone, and beyond the wrong attitudes of some people who supposedly identify as feminists, there is a real message and a real focus set for feminists – gender equality. There has always been a dark side for woman in the past, and still is today. Woman haven’t always had the vote, or have been allowed to work. It can’t been denied; woman have been put a step or two behind men a lot in the past. Even today, woman are often forced into marriage against their will, as well as being denied rights that are given to men. True feminism is about gender equality between sexes, for BOTH sexes. There are also many male feminists, as it is not something that is ‘woman’s only’ or intended to be dominated by woman. It is also a step forward for men too – it reminds us that we don’t have to conform to typical stereotypes between the genders and we CAN step outside the traditional boundaries set by society. Why has feminism become such a strong word? Because they are strong minded people. Everyone deserves to be able to make their own self decisions about who they want to be, and what sort of lifestyle they want to lead, providing it doesn’t hurt anyone.

Peace ❤

Bushra xx

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